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REA Launches the Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) to Expand Energy Access Across Nigeria Through Increased Financial Viability and Scaled-up Commercial Investment

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) officially launched the Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) on 29th September, 2022, a four-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria. The programme aims to support access to clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled up commercial investment, in renewable energy mini-grids, with a focus on cost-reduction levers and innovative business models.

The programme is active in 21 African Countries and the Nigeria national project implemented by the REA is the first to commence implementation following the official launch at an inception workshop hosted in collaboration with representatives from the UNDP, GEF, Federal Ministries of Power, Environment and Agriculture as well as other key stakeholders in the rural development space.

The Africa Minigrids Program in Nigeria is designed as an enabler project of the REA’s Energising Agriculture Programme (EAP) which aims to advance one of REA’s strategic priorities of focusing on the unserved and underserved to increase economic opportunities through agriculture and productive sectors in rural communities across the country. This objective is in line with the mandate of the REA to catalyse economic growth and improve quality of life for rural Nigerians.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria mentioned that the UNDP is delighted with the launch of the Africa Minigrids Program national project in Nigeria with the Rural Electrification Agency as the project’s implementing partner. He said, “access to reliable, sustainable, affordable energy is a catalyst to socio-economic development, and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” He further added that, “by scaling up solutions such as renewable energy minigrids, we will be able to close the energy access gap and unlock opportunities for people in Nigeria and across the region.”

The GEF Operational Focal Point at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Jonah Stanley, emphasized the significance of the programme which he sees as “central to issues such as security, climate change, food production and strengthening economies while protecting ecosystems.”
While commending the collaborative spirit of the Agency’s partners and stakeholders that enabled the activation of the programme, the Managing Director / CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad disclosed that “the Africa Minigrids Program will serve as another catalyst for improved access to sustainable energy and equitable and inclusive impact on livelihoods by unlocking agricultural value addition opportunities from electrification.” He further added that “this sectoral approach is in line with the Agency’s focus on programmes to advance the electrification targets and broader social and economic development objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF) at the REA, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare outlined that “to enhance the viability of mini-grids and the impact of electrification, the programme will deploy pilot mini-grids to achieve the electrification of rural communities and agricultural value chains and establish the most appropriate solutions and business models, while amplifying the knowledge gained to catalyse private investment.”

The Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) in Nigeria will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action) and 5 (Gender Equality) with an estimate of 70,063 direct project beneficiaries out of which 34,559 are women. The lifetime global environmental benefit is estimated at 74.2 ktCO2e.

Launch of the Africa Mini-grids Program at COP27

As part of the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference COP27 (7-18 November, Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt), the Africa Minigrids Program partners UNDP, RMI, and the GEF will co-host the event entitled “Africa’s Just Energy Transition: Scaling Up Renewable Energy Minigrids for People and Planet”. For more information on this event, please contact Sophie Guibert, Communications Specialist, UNDP Sustainable Energy Hub: sophie.guibert@undp.org

About Rural Electrification Agency (REA)

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), under the Federal Ministry of Power, tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities with the aim to catalyse economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians. The REA is currently administering the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and implementing the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) and several initiatives in furtherance of its mandate.

To give effect to some of its initiatives, REA has obtained financing amounting to $550 million ($350 million from the World Bank and $200 million from the African Development Bank) for financing the Nigeria Electrification Project, and an additional $11 million for financing the Rural Electrification Fund for the deployment of Solar hybrid mini grids and solar home systems. These funds will ensure that millions of Nigerians have access to clean, safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

About Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Established in 1991, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a multilateral environmental fund that provides grants and blended finance for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, food security, sustainable cities in developing countries, and other critical sectors. It is the largest source of multilateral funding for biodiversity globally and distributes more than $1 billion a year on average to address inter-related environmental challenges. The facility is operationalised through 18 multilateral Agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to design, develop and implement all GEF-funded projects.

About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nigeria

UNDP is the leading United Nations international development organization working in 170 countries to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities, and to build resilience to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our work is concentrated in three focus areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, and climate and disaster resilience.

UNDP has been in Nigeria since the country became independent in 1960 providing capacity building and policy development support to the Federal Government of Nigeria in areas of Governance & Peace Building, Inclusive growth, and Sustainable Development. UNDP continues to support, the government in the implementation of development interventions aimed at meeting the medium to long term goals enshrined the; Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020; National Vision 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

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